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France May 2019: Citroen (+23.1%) continues recovery, Renault Clio 5 arrival reshuffles models and private sales order, market up 1.2%

The landing of the Renault Clio 5 means the Clio 4 is now fading away and the Peugeot 208 snaps the #1 spot for the first time in almost 3 years.

The French new car market manages a third year-on-year gain in the past 4 months in May at +1.2% to 193.948 units, however the month had one more opening day and therefore the daily rate is in fact down 3.9%. This uptick brings the year-to-date tally just 456 units below the level of a year ago at 935.478 or -0.05%. This month’s growth is mostly artificial given private sales continue to skid down, reaching their lowest ever level at just 40.8% share this month vs. 44.9% so far in 2019. Diesel sales improve their share from 33% in April to 36% this month, leading to 34% YTD. Renault (-0.6%) reclaims the lead of the brands ranking for only the third time in the past 9 months at 18.6% share vs. 18% for Peugeot (+5.3%). Citroen (+23.1%) once again posts an outstanding performance – the largest gain in the Top 20 – while Dacia (-1.3%) is back above Volkswagen (-9.3%) at #4 and only 148 units below YTD and Toyota (+15.8%) scores the only other double-digit gain in the Top 10.

Swan song for the first generation Peugeot 208: #1 right before Renault Clio 5 private deliveries start in June.

The private sales brands ranking shows a drastically different picture with a few striking firsts: Peugeot is clear leader at 14.9% share ahead of Dacia, Citroen (11.5%) and Renault (10.8%) particularly weak at #4: its lowest ranking since BSCB started following French private sales. That’s because the Clio 4 is now logically decelerating as the Clio 5 (see further down) only exists as a demo vehicle for now. Below, Toyota eclipses Volkswagen for the first time in history at 7% share vs. 6.7%. Mercedes (-5%) remains the best-selling premium brand overall in the country, but BMW (+11.5%) and Audi (+10.8%) are both pushing hard just below and the private sales order is reversed with Audi (3.1%) distancing Mercedes (2.2%) and BMW (1.8%) this month and YTD. Nissan’s fall (-42.8%) is reaching catastrophic proportions, with the brand now outsold by Kia (+5.9%), Hyundai (+3.9%) and Skoda (+4.4%), while Tesla (+268%), Alpine (+174.3%), Mitsubishi (+73.5%), Seat (+17.6%), Smart (+15.2%), Lexus (+13%) and Porsche (+13%) all post stellar performances further down.

The Dacia Sandero ranks #2 in France for the 2nd time ever after March 2010.

The French models ranking is entering a tumultuous period with the two best-sellers now in the process of being replaced by new generations, and we’ll be able to follow this transition in detail as detail by generation is made available by CCFA. The Peugeot 208 (+15.9%) is surfing on runoff promotions to take the overall lead for the first time since August 2016, putting an end to 32 consecutive months of reign by the Renault Clio IV (-27.6%) tipped down to #3 for just two sales by the Dacia Sandero (+12.2%), reaching the 2nd position overall for only the second time ever after March 2010. Meanwhile the Renault Clio V appears in the official charts for the first time, directly at #15 and almost 2% share, all demo sales as official deliveries are scheduled for June. The Renault Twingo (+34.4%), Peugeot 2008 (+16.5%), Renault Megane (+14.5%) and Citroen C3 (+14.2%) are the only other gainers in the Top 12.

The C5 Aircross helps Citroen up 23.1% in France this month.

After breaking into the Top 10 for the first time last month, the Citroen C5 Aircross recedes 7 spots to #17 in May, while the Toyota Yaris (+61.8%), Fiat 500 (+20%) and VW Polo (-25.3%) are the only foreigners in the Top 20. Finally, notice the Peugeot 508 (+266.6%) soars 22 spots on April to #30, the nameplate’s highest ranking since November 2016, thanks to the arrival of the new generation station wagon. In the private sales models ranking, the Dacia Sandero benefits from the Clio-208 changeover to sail off in the distance at 7.5% share, distancing the Peugeot 208 at 4.3% and the Citroen C3 at 3.8%.

This is preliminary data. Final and more complete data will be uploaded to this article when available.

Previous month: France April 2019: Citroen (+28.7%) lifts market up 0.4%, places 3 nameplates in Top 10 including C5 Aircross

One year ago: France May 2019: Peugeot 3008 up to #2, Dacia Duster at highest in 4 years

Full May 2019 Top 20 brands and Top 50 models below.

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